Everybody knows her smile, but no one knows her story: Meet the flesh-and-blood woman who became one of the most famous artistic subjects of all time Mona Lisa.
A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre.Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story." Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered," a blend of biography, history, and memoir, truly is a book of discovery about the world's most recognized face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting. Who was she, this ordinary woman who rose to such extraordinary fame? Why did the most renowned painter of her time choose her as his model? What became of her? And why does her smile enchant us still?
Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542) was a quintessential woman of her times, caught in a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. Her life spanned the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence and of the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, with larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli.
Dianne Hales, author of "La Bella Lingua," became obsessed with finding the real Mona Lisa on repeated trips to Florence. In "Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered," she takes readers with her to meet Lisa's descendants; uncover her family's long and colorful history; and explore the neighborhoods where she lived as a girl, a wife, and a mother. In the process, we can participate in Lisa's daily rituals; understand her personal relationships; and see, hear, smell, and taste her Florence. Hales brings to life a time poised between the medieval and the modern, a vibrant city bursting into fullest bloom, and a culture that redefined the possibilities of man and of woman.
About the Author
Dianne Hales is one of the most widely published and honored health writers in the country. Her bestselling textbooks include AN INVITATION TO HEALTH, AN INVITATION TO WELLNESS, and AN INVITATION TO PERSONAL CHANGE. Her trade books include the award-winning compendium of mental health information CARING FOR THE MIND: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH; THINK THIN, BE THIN (with Doris Helmering); JUST LIKE A WOMAN: HOW GENDER SCIENCE IS REDEFINING WHAT MAKES US FEMALE; THE MIND-MOOD PILL BOOK; INTENSIVE CARING: NEW HOPE FOR HIGH RISK PREGNANCY (with Dr. Timothy Johnson); HOW TO SLEEP LIKE A BABY; THE U.S. ARMY TOTAL FITNESS PROGRAM; NEW HOPE FOR PROBLEM PREGNANCIES; and THE COMPLETE BOOK OF SLEEP. The president of Italy named Hales a "cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana" (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) in recognition of her best-selling book LA BELLA LINGUA as an "invaluable tool for promoting the Italian language." Her other writing awards include prizes from the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the National Women's Political Caucus, California Psychiatric Society, CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), Council for the Advancement of Scientific Education, and the New York City Public Library. Her latest general audience book is biography MONA LISA: A LIFE DISCOVERED.